By Heather Cameron
Alta Newspaper Group
Lina Wiebe, a second-year Interior Design student at Lethbridge College, designed the winning home in the inaugural Ashcroft Design Challenge.
The design, christened The Emberly after Wiebe’s niece, was structured by Wiebe and then brought to life through 3D animation by fellow Interior Design student, Jada Kot.
“My sister and her family were the inspiration behind The Emberly,” Wiebe said recently. “I knew that the type of home that we were being asked to design would most likely be marketed/purchased by a young family like my sister’s, so I studied their routine and habits in order to create a practical floor plan that would function well for their lifestyle. As for the aesthetics, I wanted something that was fresh and modern, but still fit in with Lethbridge and the surrounding area.”
Wiebe currently resides in Taber with her husband, but grew up in Vauxhall. She is the oldest in her family, with two younger sisters and a younger brother. After graduating high school, Wiebe moved to Taber and began a career in the banking industry, but decided to switch over to being an administrative assistant at a local outreach high school after three years.
Wiebe says her first venture with home design began in 2011 after moving out and renting her very first apartment.
While renovating wasn’t an option, Wiebe quickly realized that with the right furniture and lighting, she could influence the atmosphere within her apartment. This grew into something that became a part time hobby with her helping various friends and family decorate their homes.
After a while decorating just wasn’t enough for her and she wanted to be able to design floor plans and make material selections, which lead her to the Interior Design Technology Program at Lethbridge College in 2016.
“Since then, I have come to realize how much of an influence our surroundings have on us, and how designers can use their skills and knowledge to create spaces that are aesthetically pleasing but also practical and functional,” Wiebe said. “Design has always been something that interested me, but I come from a very pragmatic family and I had a hard time envisioning a career in that field.”
Kot got involved in the competition because she saw it as a great opportunity that not a lot of people get to do and it was truly a once in a lifetime experience for her. The students were in teams for the competition, Kot added, with the first-years designing the floor plan while the second-years created the 3D animation for the designs.
“I got involved in home design through my schooling at Lethbridge, but what sparked it was my passion for architecture in high school,” Kot said. “I took drafting and an interior design class in high school which I loved and automatically knew I either wanted to go to school for architecture or interior design.”
Kot grew up in Weyburn, Saskatchewan with her mom, dad, her two brothers and her sister.
She loves being outside and doing physical activity whether it’s going to the gym, paddle boarding, or going for a walk and she grew up with a very athletic background where her parents always encouraged her to play sports.
Kot also loves the beach and hopes to design a house on the west coast one day.
The Emberly itself, Kot said, is a three bedroom, two and a half bath family home designed and built around a family’s needs and wants.
An example of that, Kot noted is in building the mudroom and pantry right of the garage, as it makes it easier access for people to walk in take their coat off and drop the groceries off with ease.
“Personally, I am really proud of the video I produced but I couldn’t have done it without my amazing partner Lina,” Kot said. “Lina was amazing to work with and is very talented. I think everyone is proud of what we accomplished especially the teachers. They were the ones to really push us to go outside our comfort zone and I think of something new and innovative.”
Wiebe and Kot’s design was picked as the winner by a panel of judges from Ashcroft Master Builder and was built by the company in the Garry Station subdivision, with Wiebe working for Ashcroft as a paid intern.
Kot was also offered the internship as a prize, but couldn’t take it because she was moving home right away, so she got a cheque as a replacement prize.
Kot has also been in the career of design for about four months and currently works doing city space kitchens and interior design in Regina.
“The beauty and structure of home design is what makes it appealing to me,” Kot said. “Being able to create something that’s so artistic for other people is amazing. And it’s always changing with new trends and styles which makes it even more of an exciting career to be in.”
The second annual Ashcroft Design Challenge is currently underway, with students pitching their designs to Ashcroft in April.
The winner will be announced at the annual surRENDER event on April 24.